During this session small, luxury and larger cruise lines will discuss how they approach this challenge with their specific guest demographic. The speakers are: David Vass, CTIE, SVP, worldwide cruise business & operations, Abercrombie & Kent Destination Management, Adria Bono, senior director destination experiences, Silversea Cruises, Elena Vlad, director shore excursions product development & operations, Holland America Line and Jan-Pierre Joubert, director shore excursions, MSC Cruises.
Research shows modern cruisers are attracted to trips that are experiential – whether that is traveling in small intimate groups or using immersive tools to explore the destination fully. Experts in the session will share the principles they employ when creating hard-to-resist shorex as they cover topics on how to make your product stand out from the crowd with marketing.
A focus on how to translate sustainability into a land-based programme will also be discussed along with what is the most important aspect of sustainability in a SHX experience.
Other areas will include how to better use digitisation and technology to improve experiences. The strategy behind product development- how much you should rely on the local tour operators and how much you should research centrally (product sourcing teams) will also be explored. Other areas include: When is the best time for a Tour Operator/destination to propose a new tour? Would you try out a product that no one has operated yet if it seemed to be the right one for your brand? How to tackle the challenge of guide shortages? How to create authentic experiences for larger ships.
Moderator Carmen Morosan, global shore excursions manager, Intercruises shoreside & port services pointed out some of the highlights: ‘Experiential travel and immersive shorex are arguably the most interesting topics in the cruise industry, with cruise lines and tour operators of all sizes striving to create experiences that truly engage guests with a destination’s history, culture, people, food and environment – There is not a straightforward answer on how to do this, but a range of evolving methods will be presented.’
Vass shared his thoughts on participating on the shorex panel at Seatrade Europe: ‘There are important new components to all tours that the collective shorex consciousness wasn’t as focused on 10 years ago as now, specifically sustainability and authenticity. While trying to create a deliverable that ticks the boxes of these two goals while also creating product in such a way that it can generate revenue for both small and large vessels, an entire new approach to the creation of shore excursions will make for an interesting discussion in Hamburg.’